Metal detectorists in Great Britain continue to add to our knowledge of the rich history of the islands. A case in point is this Viking coin hoard found in a field in Wales by a man plying his metal detector. From Ancient Origins comes the following article. (Ed.)
About 1,000 years ago an unlucky soul apparently buried his treasure—a cache of Viking coins—in a field in Wales and never dug it up again. Perhaps the medieval person died before retrieving it or forgot exactly where it was buried. The treasure may also have been part of a burial. Whatever the case, the apparent bad luck of the medieval hoarder turned out to be good luck for a Welshman with a metal detector.
The hoard includes coins and coin fragment and ingots going back to the time of King Cnut the Great. Treasure hunter Walter Hanks of Llanllyfni was using a metal detector in Llandwrog in March when he got a hit, .
Llandrwrog is in Gwynedd, which was a Welsh kingdom around the time the coins were buried. The find will help scholars build a better picture of the 11 century economy of Gwynedd, said Dr. Mark Redknap of the Department of History and Archaeology at the National Museum Wales.
“Canute Reproving His Courtiers,” an etching by R.E. Pine, depicts a legend told about Canute that says he thought he could stop the tide from rising, but when he could not he hung his crown on a crucifix and never wore it again. (
Redknap told Wales Online:
The hoard includes 14 silver pennies minted in Dublin under the Irish-Scandinavian king Sihtric Anlafsson, who ruled from 989 to 1036. Archaeologists say such Irish coins are rarely unearthed on the British mainland. Eight of these coins were dated 995 AD and six were thought to be from 1018.
Researchers told Wales Online they think the coins were deliberately buried. The Wales Online story does not mention any human bones or remains found near the coin hoard.
The cache has been declared treasure by northwest Wales Coroner Dewi Pritchard-Jones. The National Museum Wales did not give a value for the coins, but the museum wants to buy them with financing from the Heritage Lottery Fund. The coins and ingots will be taken to the British Museum for safekeeping in the meantime.
“The independent Treasure Valuation Committee, will commission an expert valuer to offer their view on current market/collector value and the committee will consider this, before making their recommendation,” said a museum spokesman. “Finders and landowners are consulted and are able to offer comment or commission their own valuations, if they wish. Usually what happens is that the value is split equally between the finder and the landowner with each getting 50% of the current market value.”